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It is a pleasure to follow Jim Fitzpatrick. I start by paying my own tribute to my hon. Friend Mrs Main for making it to the debate today. She is incredibly brave to do so. I am also grateful to her for doing so because she had asked me to open the debate on her behalf, had she been unable to be here. I thank Angela Smith, not only for her contribution today, but for all her work on the issue over a number of months now. I also thank the Backbench Business Committee for allowing us to have the debate. As the hon. Gentleman said, it is a timely one and a good opportunity for us to focus our minds on the issue.
We need to take the debate back to basics. There has been much criticism from those who have been pro the cull that those of us who are anti the cull do not understand, because we do not have bovine TB in our constituencies. I am one of those MPs: we have very little BTB in Kent—but I want to keep it that why, which is why I am against the cull. I fear that the pilot culls will show that they spread the disease wider. I have spoken to my own farmers, who initially expressed disappointment with my position, but I said to them, “I don’t want to see this nasty disease in Kent. My fear is that if we continue to go down this route, that is exactly what will happen.”
The subject is emotive, as we have seen today. Everyone has spoken passionately, but it is important to stick to the facts. The debate is about how the current situation stands and about how we best move forward to eradicate bovine TB from our cattle.